All in a day's work

Since the school year has started back up and all the kids are back, I've also seen a return of the crazy, unpredictable, strange little happenings that are just part of day-to-day life around here, either from living with so many teenagers or just from living in Africa. Here are a few examples:

1. One teenager got a huge, ugly bite on her foot, apparently from a spider that crawled in her sock while she was studying.
2. Another teenager fell on the basketball court and was afraid he broke his arm (he didn't, thankfully!)
3. Some weird short in the electrical circuit caused the power to go out in half of the dorm every 10-20 minutes every night for two weeks, creating a hilariously frustrating need for either Keturah or I to come out of our rooms every few minutes to reset the breaker. (It was finally fixed last night!)
4. We accidentally left the windows open after sunset one night (huge mistake!) and after about 30 minutes found that our bathroom floor had turned black from the millions of little black stinkbugs that flew in.
5. 32 boys + 32 girls = lots of flirtation and the need for us "relationship cops" to patrol the scene and break up the little pairing-offs as they happen (there is a "no-relationship" rule in boarding, to which there is a long and very understandable explanation for).
6. And finally, today's big event happened during lunch. As we leisurely enjoyed our chicken and rice, we heard frantic children screaming not too far away. As I rushed out to see what was wrong, I heard "Snake! Snake!" I followed the crowd, wondering what in the world I could possibly do to help this situation. Before the thought was even complete in my mind, though, three or four teenage boys appeared and quickly (and pretty brutally if I may say so) put an end to the snake threat within two minutes. Afterwards, all the kids simply returned to eating lunch as if nothing had happened. To this I only had one response, "TIA...This is Africa!" :)

Musical Monday

I thought I would try something new on the blog and try to dedicate Mondays as days to highlight artists or songs that have been ministering to me lately. God so often uses music in my life to encourage, inspire, teach, and direct me. It is also my favorite form of worship. I would love to share with you some of the music He's been using in my life recently and possibly help encourage and inspire you as well.

Recently my friend, Emily, sent me some new artist recommendations. I kind of consider her my "personal music shopper" because she always finds these great artists and tells others about them. I have grown to love the music of just about everyone she recommends. One of these artists is Amanda Falk. I downloaded one of her albums and want to share a song I have fallen in love with.

"It Was You"
I've been looking for answers
I've spent my life searching for something
To satisfy, to satisfy
No matter what I could find
It was empty, so empty inside
Until now

It was You
It was You
What I wanted and never knew
It was You

Faced with these troubles of mine
I've been scared
So I felt there was someone out there
But I didn't have a clue
With every tear that I cried
I felt someone was there by my side
And I wondered who

It was You
It was You
What I wanted and never knew
It was You

And I found my way
Back to Your grace
You rescued me
Now I can see

It was You
It was You
What I wanted and never knew
It was You

When I first heard this song, I was immediately taken back to the summer of 1996 when God truly opened my eyes to the reality of Him. That summer the greatest love relationship of my life was birthed and I still am just totally amazed with how He has worked in my life. I remember so clearly having that feeling of knowing someone was there, but just not realizing who. It was an incredible time when I began falling in love with Him that summer. This song has touched my heart and reminded me of that time. In a human relationship, it's so good to go back to the beginning in your heart from time to time and just remember all the things that made you first begin loving someone. I have found this to be just as true and important in my relationship with the Lord.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you." Jeremiah 31:3

A new school year begins

Things are definitely back to high-gear around here! Between moving in and spending every day with 64 teenagers and teaching my 20 students at school, life has gotten very interesting again! Of course I absolutely love it and wouldn't trade it for anything. :)

Last weekend Keturah, the new boarding mistress and I, welcomed our 32 girls, along with the 32 boys moving into other boarding houses. It's been a lot of fun getting to know them all and working together to establish a new community/family. The challenges have been minor and overall, it's been a successful first week so far.

Also, this year at school I am teaching standard 5 and 6 in one, so I have my students from last year who I absolutely adore, along with the sweet new standard 5 students. With 20 students, my class is more full than last year's class of 12-14, but it is still very manageable. We've had a great first week of lessons and I think we are all really excited about this year!

My internet situation has been tedious lately, as the internet at the dorm hasn't worked since I moved back in. With my schedule so packed all day long, time to get to the offices to get online has been very limited. Because of this, I have not been good with staying connected with friends and family lately. I apologize for this and just ask for your prayers for the internet situation to be sorted out soon. I also covet your prayers for God's wisdom and love as I begin to build relationships with so many new children and teenagers. I pray that His light shines brightly through me and that I may be His hands and feet to all of those around me.

I'm so thankful for the chance to be doing His work here, and I look forward to posting more updates and pictures soon!

Amazing deal!

My mom forward this on to me today about a 2-for-1 flying deal from The States to South Africa. If anyone is at all interested in traveling to South Africa (or Botswana!) this would be a great thing to take advantage of!


I knew it would happen eventually. As much as I've loved the time off, I am starting to go seriously stir-crazy. I am so relieved that I start back to work this week and the kids come back next weekend! A new year is about to begin for me and I'm feeling really excited and very ready for it. In just seven days my life will go from mostly all quiet, alone time to almost all-day noise, yelling in the hallways, crazy chaos, teenagers' stuff everywhere, lines for the bathroom, and very little sleep....and I can't wait!! :)

Blessings from home

I love my home church so much. I love the heartbeat of the church and all that it stands for, and I especially love the members of this amazing church body. Throughout this first year of living and serving in Botswana, I have felt so loved by my church family. Today when I went to my mailbox, this is some of what was waiting for me:

What a treat to find all these treasures in my mailbox! The most amazing thing about it, though, is that the majority of these cards are from people I've never met. At Christmas time, The Stone gives out addresses for their missionaries serving overseas, and they encourage others to send Christmas cards to bless and encourage them. I've thought this was a wonderful idea since I heard about it, but I could never have imagined how much I would love and appreciate them coming! These cards were filled with so much love, encouragement, and scriptures that ministered to me. I loved opening and reading each one and carried them around with me the rest of the day. :) Thank you to each of you. You really blessed and ministered to me today!

In addition to those special cards, I have also received wonderful cards and packages from my parents, friends and other family over the past few weeks, bringing sweet blessings from home. These have meant so much to me and helped me to feel not quite so far away from home this Christmas season. Thank you so much!

2008 in Review

I've seen on a couple of other blogs this "year in review by pictures" idea and love it! So here are a few of my highlights from 2008:

January: Beginning my life in Botswana and falling in love with all of the sweet kids!

February: The Valentine's Day Formal Dinner and seeing the teenagers all dressed up

March: Celebrating my birthday in Botswana and going on an amazing mission trip with the youth to Namibia over Easter weekend

April: Ending the first term of the school year, getting my vehicle, and meeting my beautiful god-daughter, Baby Tshepiso Pelotshweu

May: Building new friendships and having competitive fun at weekly domino nights

June: Celebrating "The Day of the African Child" and loving all the beautiful clothes!

July: Celebrating the 4th of July and going on an awesome road trip with Gary, Stacy, and KB to Selebe-Phikwe and Francistown

August: Ending term two and going to America for my sister's wedding, as well as getting to catch up with family and friends back home

September: Celebrating Botswana's Independence Day

October: Teaching the boys about American football and getting some of them to become Texas Longhorn fans!

November: An amazing trip with Gary, Stacy, and Angela to Selebe-Phikwe, Serowe, and Gaborone and celebrating Thanksgiving with my class and new friends/family at the mission

December: Ending my first school year in Botswana, saying good-bye to too many friends, celebrating Christmas away from home for the first time, and bidding farewell to 2008, a year filled with so many blessings

Happy New Year to you! May 2009 be a very blessed one for us all! :)